An airline has expressed gratitude to two doctors who jumped into action to treat a man who suffered a suspected heart attack on board a jet that diverted to Shannon Airport.
The medics are understood to have administered adrenalin injections to the man who collapsed in his seat about 4 hours into the flight from New York to London.
British Airways flight BA-114 declared a medical emergency at around 6.55am yesterday and rerouted to Shannon. There were 295 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 747-400 jet.
The flight was about 500kms west of Mayo when the crew advised air traffic controllers at the Irish Aviation Authority’s (IAA) North Atlantic Communications Service centre at Ballygirreen in Co Clare that they needed to divert and land as soon as possible.
The crew issued a Pan-Pan distress call and requested permission to divert to Shannon, the nearest airport at the time. A Pan-Pan call signifies an urgency on board an aircraft but differs from a May-Day because the passengers or aircraft are not in any immediate danger.
The pilot requested emergency medical services to be standing by for their arrival reporting the two doctors were treating the passenger.
While the doctors and some cabin crew cared for the ill passenger, other flight staff began preparing the cabin for landing while the pilot routed towards Shannon.
A HSE ambulance and local doctor were waiting for the jet when it landed safely at Shannon at 8.39am.
Medics quickly boarded the flight and took charge of the patient. The ill man was stabilised on board the aircraft before being removed to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) for treatment.
There was no information available about the man’s condition as the HSE doesn’t provide such details citing “patient confidentiality.
The flight continued it’s journey to London an hour later once the passengers baggage had been removed from the aircraft in accordance with security procedures.
A British Airways spokeswoman said: “Our cabin crew cared for an unwell customer on board while the Captain requested to divert to Shannon. The aircraft landed safely and the emergency services met the flight to provide medical assistance.”
“We are always very grateful for any assistance from medical professionals flying with us. The aircraft continued its journey and we did all we could to minimise the delay to our customers’ onward journeys,” the airline added.